This tea’s a little difficult for me to review – I have very little experience with Oriental Beauty oolongs, which this tea is supposed to be similar to. The dry leaf smells malty with just a hint of raisin to it. After a rinse I smell mostly malt with a bit of cocoa. The leaf looks very interesting – rolled up kind of like a Taiwanese Oolong.
The first steep is mostly some malty sweetness with just a touch of pleasant bitterness. Doesn’t really tell you a whole lot about where the tea is going after, but a pleasant enough cup.
After that, the tea moves into the flavor profile which it has for most of the session, dominated by a sweet milk chocolate note. It’s sweeter than a dark chocolate and there’s really not a lot of bitterness to it. It also has a bit of a milky texture – somewhere between skim and whole milk. I know it’s super pretentious sounding to say that a tea has the texture of 1% milk, but that’s pretty much what I’m saying here. This goes steadily for around six steeps. Other flavors try to poke their heads through at times, but are unable to assert themselves for more than a single steep – some floral or honey notes, just a little bit of dark fruitiness, like raisins or dark grapes. I almost feel like I might be imagining them trying to pick out different flavors.
It finishes off with two or three more steeps that are pretty light and a little bit drying. More malt than chocolate in the sweetness by this point.
I would put this one more in the category of a black tea than an oolong. If it is technically an oolong, it’s oxidized almost to the point of being a black tea anyways. The flavors were pretty enjoyable, but I was underwhelmed by how quickly it vanished from my mouth. With a lot of quality teas, I enjoy how long the flavor lingers – this one is pretty blunt, you taste it while it’s in your mouth, then it’s gone. Might linger a few seconds but that’s it. I don’t know why this is the case – I think it’s decent leaf, but perhaps because it’s a summer harvest? Not sure.
This one was good, and could be nice for fans of chocolatey black teas who want to taste one specifically from Jingmai, but I don’t know that I’d recommend it to somebody wanting something like a typical Oriental Beauty style oolong.
Flavors: Chocolate, Malt, Milk, Sweet